As president and chief web traffic controller of Pam Ann Marketing, Pam Aungst assists her clients in getting the most out of web marketing. She is an industry expert and offers insight into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) service companies.


pam aungst Dont Be Fooled Into Purchasing Search Engine Snake Oil

Pam Aungst
(Photo courtesy of Pam Aungst)


The internet marketing industry is rife with snake oil salespeople who make grand promises of getting your website tons of traffic and making you loads of cash with all of that wonderful exposure. Since SEO is very complex, the average business owner doesn’t have the time nor technical acumen to educate themselves to really know what they’re buying. So how can one know when they’re being presented with a legitimate service by a genuine expert, or if they’re being scammed?


Five Questions To Ask Potential SEO Providers


How does SEO work, and how has it changed recently?

Any legitimate consultant or agency will spend plenty of time educating you in detail on how SEO works without deliberately overwhelming you with techno-babble. Consider it a red flag if they intentionally use highly technical terms without also giving understandable explanations for each. Also, have them tell you about the latest changes in SEO and how they have adjusted their scope of services accordingly. Even a non-scammer who doesn’t modernize their offerings won’t be effective for you.


What exact steps will you be performing to increase our search engine exposure?

You may not have the technical expertise to know if the answers you get here are accurate, but the thing to probe for is transparency. The consultant should be willing to share in detail exactly how they do what they do. Also, ask for samples of work they’ve done for other clients. Again, you don’t need to understand what you’re looking at — they just need to be willing to show you.


How often will you communicate with us?

This is key for spotting scammers that intend to disappear on you at some point. If they’re not willing to commit to at least one regularly scheduled monthly conference call, show them the door.


How long before we can expect to see results, and how can we measure the return on this investment?

Be extremely wary of promises of quick results, because in SEO there’s no such thing. Also, ask about measuring the return on your investment. Form submissions, online orders and even phone calls can, and should be tracked to measure ROI.


Can we speak to some of your current clients and see reports of their results?

Be sure the provider is willing to let you speak to a few existing clients as references, and prove that they know how to get results.
Asking the above questions and watching for defensiveness in the responses can help any business owner avoid the all-too-common pitfall of getting sold search engine snake oil.


This article was written by Robin D. Everson of for CBS Small Business Pulse.


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